Thursday, February 24, 2011

Let's love our bodies.

Isn't it strange that I used to want to have a body so badly? Before I was born (and I can't remember it, of course) I was so excited at the prospect of having a body that I cheered and clapped for joy. I wanted the chance to go to earth and have my test there, to show Heavenly Father that I loved him and would obey him. I understood that I really needed a body to do that. I doubt that I cared very much what kind of body it was; I just wanted to receive that great gift.

It's funny how easy it is to buy into pop culture. I can read my scriptures one day and have absolute faith in the Plan of Salvation, and the next day I am frustrated and angry and totally hating my body. Sometimes I have wished that I didn't even have one because I felt like my body was a prison (like when I was the hugest girl in my BYU ward, bigger than all the fully pregnant girls and yet not able to get pregnant myself). When I buy into pop culture standards of body image, I am disregarding my body's place in the Plan. My body has a very important place, of course. Sometimes I forget what an amazing gift it really is.

Think about it! We have been given these miraculous bodies as gifts from our father. How must it make him feel when we complain about them? When we compare ourselves to others, we are effectively saying, "Heavenly Father, this body you gave me isn't good enough! I hate it and I'm not grateful for the gift. Why couldn't you have given me something else?"

It sounds pretty bad when I put it like that, doesn't it? Unfortunately, that is the way that so many of us feel about our bodies. If we can get away from those feelings and remember the joy we felt back when we first found out that we were finally going to get our bodies, we can begin to feel gratitude.

We can thank the Lord for giving us bodies and we can think of our bodies as precious and worth-taking-care-of. We can forget about cultural standards of physical beauty and focus instead on nourishing ourselves and showing gratitude to our God. That is so much better than allowing ourselves to get wrapped up in shame and superficial attempts to force our bodies to look a certain way.

So, really, let's love our bodies.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Zoo, a theater, Ethiopian food, and strengthened faith.

So we went to another zoo last weekend, this one in Kansas City. Of all the ones we have been to in different parts of the country, this one is the lamest so far. It may be better at other times of the year when the entire half of the zoo called "Africa" isn't closed. We managed to have fun anyway. The lovely little otter in the picture above was entertaining himself by rolling over and over in the snow. He was so cute!

This polar bear was the biggest attraction at the zoo, and he was really entertaining. He swam back flips over and over again. It is amazing to see how well polar bears can swim.
This was his paw. He would propel himself off of the glass, and we took a lot of pictures trying to get a picture of it. Here is one with Paul's hand and another with my head-- to show the size of the paw. It is impressive how huge it was.
Some more pictures... A red panda, Paul and a monkey...

While we were in the city, we also went to see a movie at an awesome fancy theater and we ate at an Ethiopian restaurant and two sushi restaurants. (We had to get sushi since Paul believes that he simply cannot survive without eating sushi as often as possible.) The Ethiopian food was very meaty, very messy since you eat without utensils, and quite delicious.
We also went to the Independence, Missouri LDS Church Visitors Center. We spent about five hours going through exhibits, watching videos, talking to the missionaries, and having our faith strengthened. We both felt the spirit of missionary work flare up inside of us. It is wonderful how a true testimony demands to be shared. The Spirit also brings such hope and peace. I felt this calm settle down into my soul, and I was grateful that we splurged on a little trip.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Is -40 degrees cold enough for you?

Although the weather is supposed to be a germane topic that you should never talk about unless you have nothing else to say... I want to talk to about the weather. Here it has been brutal! Paul and I recently experienced our first ice storm. Had the camera been able to do its job, I would have gotten pictures of the thousands of individual blades of grass covered in a thick French-fry-looking layer of ice. The ground, the trees, the cars were all covered with a layer of shiny clear ice. Walking around outside was more akin to ice skating.

That was exciting.

More recently just this week, the temperature dropped really low and the wind was howling so cold. With the wind chill, the temperature outside was -40 degrees! I got up to go to my morning class, and I seriously considered staying home that day. I went anyway, but only about half the students did. Turns out that every other college and university in the state was closed that day, but the president of our school refused to close FHSU.

The cold weather really makes you aware of your mortality. Stay out in that too long and you die. Hands down, you die. It's crazy how fast you lose the feeling in your hands. Suddenly you just can't grab things, and you can't even move your fingers! I'm so glad that my parents gave me a good coat for Christmas so that I didn't have to be too cold.

I am happy to report that the sun was out this morning when I came to school and that the temperature was above zero! Looks like it's going to be a beautiful day.